Tips for Applicants to the Ontario Teacher Certification Program

teacher with a group of students looking in a microscope

The lives of their students can be transformed by an invested and enthusiastic educator. Teaching is a life-changing profession that will enrich not only your students' but also your own.

As educators, we play a vital role in shaping the lives of future generations so that they enter the world as confident, self-reliant, and inspired young adults who are eager to discover and develop their unique gifts

Teachers are in high demand across the province, making now an excellent time to enter the field.

The Procedures to Follow to Obtain a Teaching Position in Ontario, Canada

Want to know how to get into the teaching profession? Here is the plan for your future in education! Along the way, you'll receive guidance from Libby Burkett (she/her), a career leader in further education at Waterloo's Centre for Career Action (CCA), and two Waterloo alums who are currently serving as teachers in the Ontario system.

Interact with some of our former students

In the field of Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Studies, Katherine Brown (she/her) has a degree from the University of Waterloo. Katherine: "I didn't have an 'a-ha!' moment, but I knew I was good at working with kids. When I started teaching and found out I was good at it, I had no idea it would become my life's work. Katherine has been an educator for eight years and is currently a sixth-grade teacher for the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB). For the record, this is the grade I enjoy teaching the most. ”

He (he/him) earned a degree in mathematics from the University of Waterloo, and his name is Mike Miniou. After spending a semester helping out a friend who was having trouble with Biology in 12th grade, he decided he wanted to become a teacher and pursue that career. Mike is a secondary school math and computer science teacher with the WRDSB.

A teacher holding up a book with numbers on it. A young student to the left of her counting with her fingers.

Suggestions for gaining experience in the field of child care

If you want to become a teacher, having some kind of paid or volunteer work history with kids is crucial. There are many opportunities to gain experience working with children and youth, which will inform your decision about whether or not teaching is the right career path for you.

As a rule of thumb, I spent my time working with children. I have experience working with children (at a YMCA and a daycare) and in sports (I coached figure skating). What I found was that they all added up to

Her name is Katherine.

Homework tutoring at the public library, working at a summer camp or the YMCA, volunteering with groups like Girl Guides or Scouts, and coaching a sports team are just a few of the many opportunities available to high school and college students. Think about what you're good at and what age range you'd enjoy working with. Your high school guidance counselor may also be able to offer suggestions.

You can still be a great swim instructor even if you spent your high school years flipping burgers. Libby notes that "teaching programs tend to give more weight to your recent two years of experience." Most academic programs place a premium on prior teaching experience. According to Libby, "Right now, emergency supply is in demand, and you don't need a teaching degree." Some boards will hire you as an emergency classroom monitor if you are over the age of 18 and have a high school diploma. You may be able to find work as a substitute teacher in certain areas after completing your bachelor's degree. And if that doesn't appeal to you, there's always teaching.

Do some volunteer work in a classroom so you can experience what the students there are going through. Before beginning teacher training, it's a good idea to gain experience in a variety of settings and interact with a wide range of students. Making connections in this way is also beneficial.

He/him Mike

A teacher standing at the front of a classroom giving a lecture.

Advice on picking a degree to pursue a career in education

An unorthodox route to becoming a teacher It doesn't matter where you came from," Libby says. A career in education is accessible to those with almost any academic background.

Taking a wide range of classes at university helped me discover areas of particular interest to me. A wiser person should have told me, "You don't have to have it perfectly mapped out." It's not always pretty, but even if you mess up, you can end up where you need to be.

She/She is Katherine.

Differences in Teaching Preschool and High School Students

Teachers need certification in at least two of the following grade ranges (K–4, 5–8, 9–12, or 12–16) for employment in the public school system.

If you are set on a career in elementary education (primary/junior), you won't need to focus on a specific area of study, though most teacher preparation programs would rather you have completed a minimum number of credits in subjects like English, French, mathematics, and science.

Thinking about developing teaching subjects during your undergraduate degree is important if you want to teach middle school or high school. Prerequisites for teaching at the junior, intermediate, and senior levels include completion of a set number of credits worth of undergraduate work in the subject. There is a need for teachers with one specialty in elementary and middle school, and two in secondary schools. Selecting a double major or major and minor that correspond to your intended field of study can help you feel more prepared to teach.

There are courses available both in teacher education programs and later on in a teacher's career for those who feel the need to change their teaching focus or even grade level.

He/him Mike

A teacher crouched down beside a students desk talking to them as they do their work.

A short cut to becoming a teacher

At Waterloo, you can get a head start on a career in teaching by taking one of their undergraduate programs.

Do what makes you happy.

The best major is the one you'll love studying for the rest of your life. If you want to become a teacher, Waterloo has more than a hundred different majors in areas like science, arts and humanities, fine and performing arts, mathematics, music, the environment, and more. Selecting an undergraduate major that truly interests you will help you grow as a candidate and as a future educator.

Just as likely as you were to teach the first teachable, you'll teach the second one. Pick your two favorite and most comfortable areas of study.

For Mike (he/him),

Learning how to learn and developing a love of learning are the two most valuable skills you can acquire at university.

Catherine (she/her)

A teacher sitting at their desk on a video call. Their expression is excited and their hands are up.

Details on how to get into a school for educators

It takes two years to complete Ontario's teacher education program, but in that time you'll learn not only what to teach but also how to teach, and you'll also have opportunities to practice your skills in actual classroom settings. Teacher Education Application Service (TEAS) is the application you'll use to enroll in a teacher education program at an Ontario university.

When it comes to curriculum, not all schools are created equal. Subject-matter teaching requirements will vary from institution to institution and even from one academic year to the next within the same institution. When placing their prospective teachers in schools, many teacher education programs have established partnerships with local school districts. Taking some time to investigate potential courses will help you get a jump on your future preparations.

As a teacher, your seniority plays a significant role in your career. It's time to start thinking about a permanent residence.

For Mike (he/him),

Prepare thoroughly, whether for a test or an interview. Faking readiness is impossible. Try your hardest

She is Katherine (she/her).

That's something the CCA can assist you with. The University of Waterloo welcomes current students and alums for unlimited one-hour appointments or walk-ins. Libby: "I've had some students who I've met with weekly, or monthly, for a while. And assistance goes beyond simple data organization: "We can help with wording email inquiries; we can help with practice phone calls," says Libby. And we can also lend a hand during the application process. Having a professional review your paperwork can be beneficial. If you'd like, we can even accompany you during the application process itself. If you want to teach in another part of Canada or even outside of the country, CCA advisors can help you with that, too.

Your work should render you unnecessary if you're doing it right. You hope your students will reach a point where they can apply what they have learned to a problem they have never encountered before and find success. That's my favorite part.

In this article, "Mike" refers to a male.

I try to instill in my students a sense of civic responsibility and a desire to help others as much as I do academic knowledge. In addition, it's the most ideal profession ever.

Kathryn (she/her)

Ideas from the University of Waterloo
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